Family's Christmas nightmare after thieves steal presents, dog - FOX 13 News

Family's Christmas nightmare after thieves steal presents, dog

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(Photo from TPD) (Photo from TPD)
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Imagine learning all your family's Christmas gifts were stolen, and on top of that, the family pet, too.

It's become a sad reality for a Tampa family this holiday. Their home was broken into yesterday on North 50th Street.

Police say the department got together to make sure the kids got their gifts back, but they do not have the location of the dog, Honey.  

As the little girl put it, it's a Christmas nightmare. The mother, Melody Russell, lives in the home with her two children. She said when she came home Monday around 7, she found the house in a wreck.

She realized all the Christmas presents had been stolen -- not to mention a TV, laptop and other items. What's more: The family's 12-week-old Shih Tzu, Honey, was gone, too.

She was like a baby sister to the two kids, 7 and 5. It looks like the thieves broke through a glass sliding door in the back of the home, police said.

"We live on my salary," Russell said. "It's not much, so just to see that everything that I had been working for little by little to see they have a good day, that was heartbreaking to see that they just don't care."

"That morning I woke up. I just thought it was a nightmare," little Marissa Garcia said.

"Marissa, she could barely talk last night because she was just crying and crying," Russell said. "It's hard. It's like losing a family member. It really is."

The small holiday magic to the story is that several dispatchers and officers with the Tampa Police Department heard about what happened and stepped in, buying upwards of 30 gifts for the family so they could celebrate Christmas.

It's bringing some comfort to the family, but of course, they still want their Honey back.

If you have any information about the crime, contact the Tampa Police Department.

Fox 13's Josh Cascio contributed to this report.

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